The oldest travel agency in Britain, Cox & Kings, Gordon House 10, Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1PH (tel. 020/7873-5000; www.coxandkings.co.uk), was established in 1758. Today the company specializes in unusual, if pricey, holidays. Its offerings in Scandinavia include cruises through the spectacular fjords and waterways, bus and rail tours through sites of historic and aesthetic interest, and visits to the region's best-known handicraft centers, Viking burial sites, and historic churches. The company's staff is noted for its focus on tours of ecological and environmental interest.
To cycle through the splendors of Scandinavia, you can join Britain's oldest and largest association of bicycle riders, the Cyclists' Touring Club, CTC Parklands, Railton Road Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX (www.ctc.org.uk). Founded in 1878, it charges £12 to £35 ($23-$67) a year for membership, which includes information, maps, a subscription to a newsletter packed with practical information and morale boosters, plus recommended cycling routes through virtually every country in Europe. The organization's information bank on scenic routes through Scandinavia is especially comprehensive. Membership can be arranged over the phone with a credit card (such as MasterCard, Visa, Access, or Barclaycard).
The best tours of Finland are offered by Finnair (tel. 800/950-5000 in the U.S.; www.finnair.com), including its most popular, the Midnight Sun Flight (Helsinki-Rovaniemi-Helsinki). Any Finnair office around the world can provide information about tours for exploring Finland.
If you'd like to see as much as possible of Finland's highlights in the shortest possible time, consider one of the Friendly Finland Tours, lasting 3 to 6 days. This tour is operated by the Finland Travel Bureau, Kaivokatu 10A, PB 319, FIN-00101 Helsinki (tel. 806/0097-000; www.smt.fi). Bookings can be made through any travel agent.
There's no better way to discover the natural beauty of Finland's lake region than by cruising its waters. Five Stars of Scandinavia (tel. 800/722-4126; fax 360/923-0488; www.5stars-of-scandinavia.com) conducts the best tours of Finland's Lake District. From June to August, one of their most popular tours is a 2-night/3-day tour of the Saimaa Lakeland, highlighted by a visit to the town of Savonlinna. Except for international airfares, prices begin at $1,020 per person, based on double occupancy, with a single supplement of $180.
Finnsov Tours Oy Ltd., Eerikinkatu 3 (tel. 09/436-69-60; http://finnsov.fi), in Helsinki offers the most comprehensive tours of both the countryside of Finland and St. Petersburg and Moscow. Discuss your needs with the staff at Finnsov -- musical festivals, an overnight in a glass igloo, a journey to see the aurora borealis (northern lights). The company's tours above the Arctic Circle are especially recommended, including action-packed adventures to Rovaniemi, capital of Lapland.
For a complete list of tour programs contact the Finnish Tourist Board (tel. 212/885-9700; fax 212/885-9710; www.visitfinland.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.